DeLine Holdings and the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) celebrated the grand opening of the DeLine Community Research Site Thursday, Sept. 16, at the site northwest of Columbia.
The site is a new collaboration developing outdoor research and educational opportunities to facilitate a better understanding of natural systems and processes. The 94-acre site, which includes a cave, forested areas, and a creek, is owned by DeLine Holdings and will be loaned to the University for a period of 15 years to create the community research site, which CAFNR will oversee.
“The DeLine Family is excited to have the ability to bless the University of Missouri with this opportunity benefitting several of their departments,” said Greg DeLine, president and CEO, DeLine Holdings. “It really is a unique opportunity, and we can’t wait to see what kind of research and innovation will come from it!”
“The University of Missouri is grateful for this partnership with DeLine Holdings,” said Mun Choi, University of Missouri president. “Partnerships like this make our community and its educational offerings stronger and more vibrant. We look forward to the opportunities that arise from this collaboration.”
Dusty Walter, director of natural resources management in the CAFNR Office of Research, who will oversee the research site for CAFNR, said initial research and educational opportunities will include the impact of land use on water quality; tree improvement and sustainable forest management; sustainable food processing using native fruits like pawpaw seen abundantly in these forests; and positive health benefits from engagement with nature.
Students in the School of Natural Resources will use the site as an outdoor classroom, and Walter said he hopes to partner with local school districts for similar educational connections.
“With the close proximity of the property to the University of Missouri campus and elementary, middle and high schools, the opportunities for research, education and outreach are endless,” said Shibu Jose, CAFNR associate dean for research.
“Hands-on learning opportunities are vital to what we do in CAFNR,” said Christopher Daubert, vice chancellor and dean. “We are thrilled for this opportunity to partner with DeLine to bring these opportunities to the college and the community.”